When I was a youth living in Florida with my parents, we would go sometimes to the beach. While at the beach I would wade out into the surf, looking at ships that sailed in the horizon. After starting out to sea for a while, I would look down and try to see the creatures that would swim around my feet. After a while I would hear my parents calling for me to come back. But I hadn't moved! But as I turned around I found that I had moved. I just didn't realize it. The undercurrent had shifted the sand under my feet and I had drifted yards away from where I started, even though I had not taken one step in that direction.
We as Christians also find ourselves drifting from God many times. We don't recognize that we are drifting, and yet we are. The nature of fallen humanity is to drift. This tendency to drift carries over into our church life.
Churches are constantly in need of reforming. Here are four areas many churches need to reform. If your church does not fall into any of these categories, Praise God! Nevertheless, rest assured that there is room for reform somewhere in your church. I know this because I know Scripture doesn't leave anyone room to hide from imperfection. But we should not be discouraged either. But rather, we should trust in God to align our hearts with Himself as we obey Scripture.
The New Idolatry
God in our time has been replaced. Not with images chiseled out of stone, or shaped from metal, or even carved from wood. God has been replaced with a god of our imagination.
Where God was once the sovereign who reigns on high, hating sin, loving righteousness, a God of wrath and mercy, revelatory and transcendent, He has become to many, pie in the sky, our buddy-buddy, old man upstairs, lovey-dubby kind of God. A God who refuses to punish sin, and a God who will not suffer anyone the torments of hell. But this is not God.
Worship has become the worship of ourselves. Instead of coming together to worship the God of Scripture, we come together to worship ourselves, the preacher, the singing, God's blessings, baptisms, offerings, or anything else that will fill the time.
The center of worship is always to be God. When we give, we worship God. When we sing, we worship God. When we hear the preaching of God's Word, we worship God. When we receive good from God's hand, we worship God. When baptism or the Lord's Supper is administered, we worship God. When we fellowship with other believers, we worship God.
The Lost Scriptures
Scripture has been lost. The Bible as a guide for living for and worshipping the God of heaven has been substituted for itself. The clear preaching of Scripture through careful exposition, study, and prayer has been substituted for the preaching of a few key verses, taken out of context, and misused to appeal to the flesh.
We can learn how to be successful, gardening tips, how to get from God, and a host of other topics, but who will explain Scripture in its context? Who will feed us the Word's that come from the mouth of God? Scripture has been hijacked. Somebody bring it back to us.
The Lost Ordinances
Baptism and the Lord's Supper have also been swallowed up in themselves.
Baptism has become meaningless, with the repeat after me, sign this card, assure me of salvation, get in and out of the water, and continue on in your sin salvation that is practiced across our nation.
The Lord's Supper has become meaningless as well, whenever and if it is observed. It is given to anyone who walks through the door. We have not fenced the table. We have allowed unrepented sin to flourish in our congregations, thus producing spots and blemishes in our observance of the Lord's table.
God is not pleased. We must repent and reform our churches.
I'll tell you where we need to go from here in the next post.